It was another dramatic year for Weems Memorial Hospital as they lost their CEO, gained an interim, rejected a proposal from Sacred Heart and moved forward on the building of a replacement facility.

Earlier in the year, commissioners ousted Mike Cooper from his job as CEO, but eventually had to pay him more than $75,000 in severance pay.

On the recommendation of partner Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, the county hired H.D. Cannington as interim CEO, and he grew in popularity as the hospital board began taking a more hands-on role in running the hospital.

County commissioners in December rejected a proposal by Sacred Heart to run Weems, and sent a clear signal they want to press forward with the building of a new facility.

Commissioners unanimously voted to authorize the Weems board of directors to spend up to $50,000 in health care trust fund monies to secure updated numbers to its pending request for federal loans to fund the new construction.

In addition, they rejected proposals from both the Sacred Heart Health System as well as Alliant Management Services to operate Weems. The commissioners showed little interest in continuing talks with Sacred Heart, which is part of Ascension, the world’s largest Catholic health system and which owns both Bay Medical Center in Panama City and Sacred Heart of the Gulf in Port St. Joe.

But, the commissioner left room for a deal with Alliant, asking the Weems board to negotiate a possible agreement to provide management services, to be presented to the county by the end of Jan. 2019.

The commissioners also asked the Weems board to consider a plan to hire Cannington on as permanent CEO, but they stopped short of accepting Commissioner Bert Boldt’s recommendation to approve the change outright.